Wolverton Agora

URBED Illustrative Masterplan
URBED Illustrative Masterplan
Proposed car-free "little street"   Image credit: DarcStudio
Proposed car-free "little street" Image credit: DarcStudio

URBED have been working alongside Mikhail Riches and Mole Architects on a £28 million redevelopment of the Agora Centre in Wolverton, Milton Keynes.
The developer TOWN have issued their submission of the planning application which has been a major milestone for the Love Wolverton project. The decision for the application is due to be made in early 2021 with works commencing in mid-2021 for an estimated duration of two years.

The plans were developed as a response to Milton Keynes Council’s declaration of a climate emergency where their target is to reduce carbon emissions by 70% against standard Building Regulations.

URBED were originally commissioned by TOWN in 2016 to develop a mixed-use masterplan for the site. This looked to reinstate the historic street pattern that had been lost to the shopping centre, reconnect Radcliffe Street and Church Street with the Square, and create new vibrant streets for a mixed community.
The masterplan has progressed into a design of six development blocks (two to four storeys) laid out in a grid of “little streets’ that connect to the existing walkable street grid. The Little Streets, modelled on the ‘lost’ early Wolverton streets of Young Street and Ledsam Street and today’s Bedford Street and Oxford Street, offer an opportunity to celebrate Wolverton’s heritage in the landscape while introducing a thoroughly modern public realm typology in which the total absence of vehicles allows people to thrive. These designs have been based on the Dutch car-free and low-traffic ‘home-zone’ principles to create green, sociable and play-friendly spaces which views the street as a social space with pedestrian safety in mind rather than solely for vehicular mobility.

Following the masterplanning stages, URBED were retained as landscape architects on the project and have developed a landscaping strategy that proposes a mix of public, private and shared spaces to enrich the town centre. The central communal gardens of the urban blocks will include a variety of plant species suitable for the dynamic and incidental nature-based play activities, whist creating diversity and seasonal interest for the residences.

The pedestrian friendly public landscape will feature seating spaces, bike racks and robust planting. The urban hardscape will be contrasted with a variety of tree species that add dynamic seasonal interest to the character of the streets and quality of individual spaces.

URBED have been delighted to work with TOWN, Civic Engineers, Mole Architects and Mikhail Riches on this project.

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